Bietigheim to bouce back in familiar territoryArticle
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Women’s EHF Cup Countdown #2: After elimination from the continental top flight, SG BBM Bietigheim hope to emulate their achievement from the 2016/17 season of reaching the EHF Cup Final
»2018-19 Women's News

Bietigheim to bouce back in familiar territory

German runners-up SG BBM Bietigheim do not boast a long history in European club competitions, in fact it is their just third season on the continental stage, but they have already produced some impressive results.

In their maiden 2016/17 campaign, the team reached the EHF Cup Final, where they lost to Rostov. The following season, Bietighheim made their debut in the Women’s EHF Champions League and progressed to the main round.

Recovering from autumn frustration

This year, the German side bolstered their squad with quality players such as Dinah Eckerle, Laura van der Heijden and Daniela Gustin, while stars Kim Naidzinavicius and Maura Visser returned after a long-term injury and pregnancy respectively.

Playing in the VELUX EHF Champions League again, Bietigheim hoped to emulate their last-year success and at least reach the main round. In the group with CSM Bucuresti, Vipers Kristiansand and FTC-Rail Cargo Hungarian, the team of coach Martin Albertsen enjoyed a good start, snatching a point at Vipers and beating CSM at home.

However, four defeats in the four remaining games led to their elimination from the top flight, but a silver lining for Bietigheim is a chance to shine in the Women’s EHF Cup.

Coach Albertsen sees no clear favourite

“We want to reach the EHF Cup Final once again,” said coach Albertsen.

To achieve the goal, Bietigheim must first progress from the group where they will face two Nordic teams Storhamar and Esbjerg as well as Romania’s Magura Cisnadie.

“This is a strong group. We know Danish, Norwegian and Romanian handball, and will thoroughly prepare for the games.

“Luckily we have avoided difficult trips to Russia. As there are many strong teams in the EHF Cup this season, I do not see a clear favourite. We are looking forward to upcoming matches and take the challenge,” said Martin Albertsen.

Bietigheim will have to deal without Daniela Gustin and Kim Naidzinavicius, who suffered serious knee injuries. However, a positive EHF EURO 2018 campaign for their Dutch quartet will give the side a boost of confidence.

SG BBM Bietigheim (GER)

Qualification for the EHF Cup 2018/19 Group Phase: 4th place in Group D of the Women’s EHF Champions League

Newcomers: Dina Eckerle (Thuringer HC), Daniela Gustin (Randers HK), Laura van der Heijden (FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria), Kim Braun (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)

Left the club: Nicole Roth (Neckarsulmer SU), Tess Wester (Odense Handbold), Martine Smeets, Mille Hundahl (both Molde HK), Nina Müller (Randers HK), Cecile Woller (Ajax Kopenhagen), Susann Müller (Silkeborg), Mia Biltoft (unknown)

Coach: Martin Albertsen (since 2014)

Team captain: Kim Naidzinavicius

Opponents in the group phases: Storhamar Handball Elite, Sports Club Magura Cisnadie and Team Esbjerg in Group A

Women’s EHF Champions League records:
Main round: 2017/18
Group matches: 2018/19

Women’s EHF Cup records:
Finalists: 2016/17

German league: 1 title (2017)

German cup: 0 titles

Read about the other Group A clubs featured in the Women's EHF Cup countdown series here:

#5 Storhamar Handball Elite
#11 Team Esbjerg
#15 Sports Club Magura Cisnadie

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / cor